The new 4th Estate?

    January 12, 2021

    The 4th Estate refers to a Free Press in the United States, or the ‘4th Branch of Government.’ This morning the AXIOS online news organization, for-profit media, reference corporate America as the new ‘4th Estate’:

    ‘How CEO’s became the 4th Branch of Government’

    America needs law and order — but not the kind President Trump has in mind. That’s the message being sent by a broad coalition of CEOs who are silencing Trump and punishing his acolytes in Congress, Axios’ Felix Salmon writes.

    • Why it matters: CEOs managed to act as a faster and more effective check on the power of the president than Congress could. They have money, they have power, and they have more of the public’s trust than politicians do. And they’re using all of it to try to preserve America’s system of governance.

    A new political force is emerging — one based on centrist principles of predictability, stability, small-c conservatism and, yes, the rule of law.

    • “You cannot call for violence,” Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said yesterday in an interview with Reuters Next, explaining why she de-platformed Trump. “[T]he risk to our democracy was too big. We felt that we had to take the unprecedented step of an indefinite ban, and I’m glad that we did.” [FACEBOOK CONTINUES TO BE COMPLICIT. TEXTBOOK DEFINITION OF GASLIGHTING. Facebook is a sponsor of AXIOS. -dayle]

    Between the lines: American capitalism is based on a foundation of legal contracts, all of which ultimately rely on the strength and stability of the government.

    • When a sitting president threatens that stability by inciting an insurrectionist mob that storms the legislature, corporate America will do everything in its power to restrain him.

    Driving the news: Tech giants including Facebook, Google, Amazon and Twitter have worked in concert to quiet Trump and the far right. Other corporations are pulling political funding from all legislators who supported overturning the result of November’s free and fair election.

    • All of this has happened before the House can even schedule an impeachment vote.

    The backstory: Axios first told you about CEOs as America’s new politicians in 2019, when they increasingly were responding to pressure.

    • Then corporate leaders mobilized last spring on coronavirus response, last summer over racial justice, and now they are joining ranks on climate change.

    What’s next: After dipping toes in for the past year and a half, CEOs are now all-in.

    • They’re in a whole new league of activism — with no going back.

    Remember, GOP leaders, today, announcing their agreement for impeachment are also reacting to corporate media saying their funding, donations, are suspended. It’s money, it’s power, it’s greed—those are their motivations. Always. -dayle

    The virus of lies.

    We have to describe things as they are. What really happened on that terrible day? “The president of the United States incited a mob to sack the Capitol to lynch the vice president — his vice president.” -Jeffrey Goldberg, The Atlantic

    Center for Action & Contemplation:

    ‘If our framing story tells us that we are in life-and-death competition with each other, then we will have little reason to seek reconciliation and collaboration and nonviolent resolutions to our conflicts.’

    NPR:

    ‘How do I help people that have, unbeknownst to them, become radicalized in their thought? Unless we help them break the deception, we cannot operate with 30% of the country holding the extreme views that they do.’

    CJR/Columbia Journalism Review:

    ‘In 2016, DT got so much free media airtime—more than $2(B) according to the the NYTimes—that he could run a national presidential campaign with a fraction of the ad budget of his competitors; amplifying him has not merely been a Fox News problem.’ ⁦

    Tim Snyder:

    ‘The lie outlasts the liar. The idea that Germany lost the First World War in 1918 because of a Jewish “stab in the back” was 15 years old when Hitler came to power. How will DT’s myth of victimhood function in American life 15 years from now? And to whose benefit?’

    For-profit media has made millions…billions?…from Donald Trump. Mainstream media, the fringes of cable news, all, all, gave DT platforms for disinformation and incited his rhetoric. No Doubt. This could, indeed, have made room for corporate America’s position as the 4th Estate [AXIOS].

    I remember, what Don Lemon, CNN, and what so many pundits on news media said in 2015: “People want to see Donald Trump. You want to watch him,” Don Lemon told CNN viewers the day after Trump announced his candidacy. “At least there’s someone interesting in the race.”

    NYTimes:

    ‘At Fox, one former staffer said, the main criterion for choosing a story is whether it will inflame the audience: “The single phrase they said over and over was ‘This is going to outrage the viewers!’ You inflame the viewers so that no one will turn away.”’

    CJR/Columbia Journalist Review

    From journalist Maria Bustillos:

    Media, too Must be held Accountable. [ALL MEDIA]

    ‘Real accountability, for MSNBC, means a clear and distinct demand for each of its hosts to come clean about his or her own complicity in building and enabling the increasingly violent and extremist Republican Party that led, inexorably, to the ruinous Trump administration. Joe Scarborough, for example, who on Thursday called for the president to be arrested, was not so long ago a frequent guest at Mar-a-Lago, and a staunch ally of Trump the candidate in 2016, as CNN reported at the time:

    Scarborough has spoken about Trump in increasingly glowing terms, praising him as “a masterful politician” and defending him against his political opponents and media critics. The Washington Post has noted that Trump has received “a tremendous degree of warmth from the [Scarborough] show,” and [said] that his appearances on the show, in person and over the phone, often feel like “a cozy social club.”

    True to form, Chuck Todd brought the most openly cynical and dim-witted take to the party. On Meet the Press Thursday, he spoke with Andrea Mitchell and Katy Tur about the possible motivations of Elaine Chao, Trump’s transportation secretary, who had announced her resignation. “I’m sort of torn on the effectiveness,” he began.

    But let’s put yourself… I’m going to try to put myself in her shoes. And maybe you don’t have enough people to do the Twenty-fifth Amendment.… And you want to stand up, and do something, and say something.… But at the end of the day, is it still better symbolically to publicly rebuke him, even if it’s in the last thirteen days, even if it does look like you’re trying to launder yourself a bit, so that maybe you’ll be invited to a better law firm or a better cocktail party, but the rebuke may be still necessary anyway?

    I have nothing whatsoever to add to that.’

     

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